Getting lost above the treeline

Travel notes from explorations in Gilgit Baltistan

The 50-plus-year-old uncle in a black polo shirt is perched on top of his white horse as I walk down the trail towards him. Suddenly he sees me and raises his arms up above his horse’s thin back, like I had insulted him in a previous lifetime and he has been looking for me ever since. “All alone?” he shouts as I stop just in front of a pile of wet cow manure and the young man guiding him.

“Well,” I say, looking around at the billions of Himalayan pine trees, the…